Tuition-Free Agreement is Over for Seaside Park Students in Toms River Regional Schools
Board of Education approves tuition plan for Seaside Park Students enrolled in Toms River Regional Schools on Tuesday.
Approximately $10,000 is the amount of tuition that 10 Seaside Park students' families will each pay to attend Toms River High Schools this fall.
The tuition rate was set by the state Department of Education.
Toms River Regional School Board approved the tuition-agreement that puts an end to the tuition-free agreement from 2008 when then-Superintendent Michael Ritacco urged the board to approve it.
Previously, Toms River Regional was receiving no tuition revenue from the out-of-district Seaside Park students to attend high school here. For several years, a handful of residents continued to press the school board on why the agreement was allowed, and this spring the district began to work with officials in Seaside Park and Central Regional school districts to change from tuition-free to a rate other districts use.
Seaside Park parents submitted a letter to the Board of Education requesting that their children be admitted through a tuition agreement. Last year, nine students were attending the high school, but for the coming school year, 10 Seaside Park students will attend. Seaside Park has a send-receive agreement with Central Regional, and students wishing to attend Toms River Regional from outside the district must pay tuition.
On April 27, Toms River Regional School Superintendent Frank Roselli told the Seaside Park representative that Toms River Regional would no longer accept the secondary students without paying tuition. On May 11, the Board approved the recommendation from Roselli in executive session.
Seaside Park already pays tuition for students at elementary and intermediate schools in Toms River.
"We have a send-receive agreement for K through 6th grades for a total of $702,000 per year plus transportation," business Administrator William Doering said at Tuesday's meeting.
Toms River school board attorney Thomas E. Monahan said at a board meeting in February that state statute permits school boards to admit students from outside the district, and to decide the rate of tuition, including not charging their sending district at all.
Seaside Park school district is part of the Central Regional School district. Officials in Central and Berkeley Township have questioned why the tuition-free agreement was allowed in the past.
Seaside Park's tuition-free agreement was made under Ritacco, who resides in Seaside Park and is currently awaiting trial for federal corruption charges. Ritacco resigned in October after his arrest.
Under Ritacco, Toms River Regional agreed to accept nine Seaside Park students into the Toms River high schools tuition-free.
At Tuesday's meeting, local resident Carol Benson said that while Seaside Park students will bring more money into the system, there are enough students in the Toms River school system to begin with. She questioned who would pay the tuition for Seaside Park students.
"The district has the opportunity to bring revenue into the district and it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the district or the children," Roselli said at Tuesday's meeting.